Daily Archives: 1 Jan 2019

John Goldingay’s ‘Isaiah for Everyone’ – Free

It’s this month’s free book from Logos.  Get it.

Question: How Do You Prove that You are Guilty of Bibliolatry?


Call For Submissions

Send along your suggestions for the Biblical Studies Carnival.  It’s going to be neat!  And yes, it’s the official Carnival for January (posting 1 February, 2019).

On Zwingli’s Birthday- A Film

For your viewing pleasure-

Karl Barth Riding the Coat-tails of Zwingli

Barth, never one willing to play second fiddle and never satisfied with being second-rate, he just had to have his own ‘Year’ and it just had to be in 2019 when we were already observing the Zwingli-Year.

“Das Leben ist kein Theater, es will unsere Teilnahme, wir müssen seinen Wert herausarbeiten, oder wir ersterben in Langeweile. Es ist schon dafür gesorgt, daß uns Vieles entgeht, aber wir sollen wach sein.” (Karl Barth, Predigten 1915, GA I.27, 538). Zum Karl-Barth-Jahr 2019 gibt es ab sofort jede Woche am Dienstag ein Zitat des Theologen als Impuls für die Woche. Aktuelles zum Jubiläum findet ist hier zu lesen: www.karl-barth-jahr.eu   Auf ein gutes Neues Jahr 2019!

Oh Karl, no matter how hard you try, you will never be Zwingli (or Luther, or Calvin, or even Brunner for that matter).


A New Volume for the Barthians

Karl Barth: Bilder und Dokumente aus seinem Leben. From our friends at TVZ. I’m very confident it is something that will interest Karl’s friends.

Theology of the Old Testament

From V&R.

Michaela Bauks zeichnet in diesem Lehrbuch zur Theologie des Alten Testaments die impliziten theologischen Konzepte des Alten Testaments nach. Altorientalische Traditionen, literargeschichtliche Entwicklungen und bibelhermeneutische Überlegungen werden behandelt, auch die kirchliche und schulische Praxis wird eigens berücksichtigt.

Das Lehrbuch präsentiert die zentralen theologischen Themen der hebräischen Bibel in der Reihenfolge der gegebenen Grundformen. Zur Erzählung, zum Recht, zur Prophetie, zum Kult und zur Weisheit finden Interessierte bei Bauks die zentralen Informationen. Im Kern geht es Bauks um die verschiedenartigen Offenbarungsformen Gottes gegenüber den Menschen und seinem Volk. Neben literargeschichtlichen Aspekten und innerbiblischer Entwicklungslinien finden daher auch die traditionsgeschichtlichen Parallelen und altorientalische Traditionen Berücksichtigung.

Im Detail werden die Themenkreise Monotheismus, Götterbild, Gottesname, Gottes Königtum, Eschatologie und Geschick Israels verhandelt. Anhand dieser Themenbereiche wird die Gottesvorstellung der hebräischen Bibel systematisch vertieft.

Der Bezugsrahmen der „Heiligen Schrift“ wird von Bauks kanonhermeneutisch und biblisch-theologisch reflektiert und umrissen.

Insgesamt finde sich in diesem Buch damit alles, was man fürs Studium braucht: 

das Wichtigste über theologische Konzepte, altorientalische Traditionen, literargeschichtliche Entwicklungen sowie Impulse zur Hermeneutik des Alten Testaments.

This uniquely organized volume is comprised of three major divisions:

  1. Introduction
  2. Theological Themes in their Biblical Contexts
  3. Old Testament Theology as Polyphonic Speech of God

It also contains two appendices and the usual indices and listing of illustrations.  The very first sentence of the introduction describes the volume’s purpose:

Dieses Buch ist ein Lehrbuch, das die zentralen theologischen Themen des Alten Testaments/der hebräischen Bibel zusammenstellt.

Fulfilling that task, our author leads readers into the majestic vistas which comprise the Hebrew Bible.  But this is done in such a way that the pedagogical needs of Professors and students are central.  For instance, one of the tables included shows, in a quite useful way, the variety of approaches to the study of the Hebrew Bible:

Armed with this material, readers are able to trace the various ways in which the Bible can be studied and appreciated.

Another useful aspect of the volume is the inclusion of quite thorough and up to date bibliographies at the conclusion of each chapter.  For example, in part, after the discussion of the Psalms, we find

English entries are also included when deemed appropriate by the author.

There’s something else that’s unique about this volume and that’s its interest in the inclusion of the Old Testament in the preaching of the Church.  To that end, one of the appendices, Anhang 1: Alttestamentliche Themen und Texte in der Perikopenordnung, by Jochen Wagner, offers an outline of the Church year with appropriate readings for the Liturgical Calendar:

The second appendix provides religious education teachers an outline for a course in Old Testament.

In sum, this volume has an eye to the needs of the Professor, the student, the preacher, and the teacher.  It does a superb job in presenting the themes found in the Old Testament and explaining those themes in a clear and helpful way.  It is utterly enjoyable and thoroughly instructive.  I recommend it.

Ulrich Zwingli: Prophet, Ketzer, Pionier des Protestantismus

9783290178284Peter Opitz’s new book was sent along by TVZ some time back.  First of all, concerning the author, it isn’t necessary to say this but I will nonetheless just in case some readers are unfamiliar with the work of Opitz: there are very few scholars in the field of Reformation History who have his grasp of primary sources and secondary materials related to Calvin, Zwingli, and Bullinger.  Put more plainly, he knows the subject of this volume.

Second, concerning the volume, Opitz guides readers through four major aspects of Zwingli’s life and thought: his beginning as a Reformer;  Zwingli and the Reformation of Zurich; Zwingli and the Reformation of the Confederation; and Zwingli as a Protestant Pioneer.

Following the chronology of Zwingli’s life, Opitz, in around 120 pages, instructs readers as to the contributions of Zwingli to the Church and to the Reformation of Switzerland and further afield.  Opitz provides ample citations from Zwingli himself, thereby bolstering his argument and the publisher illustrates the volume with really lovely contemporary (and nearly contemporary) artwork.  For instance, here are a few of the illustrations that are included in the volume:


The most valuable, and necessary, part of the volume is Opitz’s treatment of the question of Zwingli and the re-baptizers. Here Opitz undermines the various myths and legends associated with Zwingli’s attitude towards and treatment of the members of this movement. I describe it as the most valuable and necessary because this is one of the areas where there’s so much misinformation constantly repeated that a correction is indispensable.

The fact that Opitz rightly grasps Zwingli’s significance is made most apparent when he writes

Es gibt keinen theologischen Gedanken Calvins, der nicht zuvor schon in der Zwinglischen Reformation diskutiert worden wäre. Sowohl historisch als theologisch ist Zwingli, nicht Calvin, der Urvater des reformierten Protestantismus (p. 110).

And again

Präsent ist Zwinglis Denken nicht nur im Presbyterianismus und in der Mennonitischen Theologie, sondern auch im Anklikanismus und im Methodismus (p. 111).

Zwingli is the unrecognized and unacknowledged and thus unappreciated fount of the theology of many Christian strands of thought to the very present. Opitz reminds us of that fact if we have forgotten it and teaches it to us if we have never learned it.

In terms of style, Opitz is a very fine communicator who writes with fluidity and congruency. Thought flows to thought with hardly any disruptions or intrusions of non-essential rabbit chasings.

Finally, the volume has one further very positive aspect: it debunks the nonsense spewed by Karl Barth about Zwingli in his lectures on the great man. Persons familiar with those lectures will find here in Opitz’s little book the perfect antidote to Barthian misprision. Barth may have found Zwingli an insurmountable Himalaya, but Opitz knows better and spaces Zwingli in the proper context of his time and place.

This is a magnificent book. I enjoyed it from the first page through the brief bibliography at its conclusion. I can only recommend it but were it possible, I would command it to be read. Especially by the Barthians and the misinformed Lutherans who, rather than bothering with Zwingli himself, instead bow the knee to the Baal of Barth and Luther and parrot their partisan viewpoints.

When it comes to Zwingli, Opitz is better informed than Barth and Luther, combined.

Tolle, lege.

To One and All